I'm thrilled to announce that...I have a podcast! It's called "Happier with Gretchen Rubin." It has been hard to keep this secret, so I'm excited to reveal it at last.
This podcast is one of many launching today on Panoply, a terrific new podcast network. I'm so excited to be part of it -- and in such good company. Other podcasts in the Panoply netwrk come from the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine/Vulture, The Huffington Post, Inc., Real Simple, Popular Science, Food52, HBO Documentary Films, and lots of others. Yowza.
When I was asked if I wanted to do a podcast, I thought, "Yes!" but then came the question of, well, what exactly would that podcast be?
As it happens, for years my sister and I have talked about the fact that we should have a radio show or YouTube show together. "It would be so fun! We could discuss all our brilliant musings!" we'd say to each other, but it never seemed possible.
So the minute I started to consider this podcast, I knew: this was the opportunity we've been waiting for. And it has been so fun to collaborate with my sister. (By the way, this is a good example of why it's good to do some pie-in-the-sky dreaming from time to time. That way, you're more ready for new chances.)
One of the main aims of my happiness projects -- in both The Happiness Project and Happier at Home -- was to spend more time with my brilliant, hilarious sister, because my relationship with her is one of the most important in my life. And if you read Better Than Before, you'll discover that my sister is a major figure there -- because she is the guinea pig/beneficiary/innocent victim of some of my most determined attempts to shape someone else's habits. Which succeeded brilliantly in some ways, not so much, in others.
We've spent so much (phone) time together working on this podcast, and that will continue. That makes me so happy!
So what will you hear us discuss, when you listen to "Happier with Gretchen Rubin"? We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).
Each week, we give a “Try This at Home” suggestion, for some easy habit you can try, as part of your ordinary routine, to boost your happiness—something like setting an alarm to signal your bedtime, or using the one-minute rule, to help yourself stay on top of small nagging tasks.
We also suggest questions to help you “Know Yourself Better”—like “Whom do you envy?” and “Are you a Marathoner or a Sprinter in your work style?”—and explore “Happiness Stumbling Blocks,” those small, seemingly insignificant parts of daily life that drag us down—everything from the problem of the Evil Donut-Bringer to the fact that working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination.
We “Grill the Guest,” consider “Listener Questions,” and finally, we get even more personal, and each of us either gives ourselves a “Demerit” for a mistake we made that week, that affected our happiness, or awards a “Gold Star” to someone or something that deserves recognition.
We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!
Here's what we discuss in this launch episode:
Try This at Home: The one-minute rule, as a way to keep clutter under control. As noted, I've been surprised by the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.
Know Yourself Better: Are you a satisficer or a maximizer? To read more about this distinction, check out Barry Schwartz's book, The Paradox of Choice.
Happiness Stumbling Block: The one-coin loophole. You're trying to keep a habit, but just this once, you're going to let yourself off the hook. This loophole gets its name from “the argument of the growing heap,” which I learned about in Erasmus’s Praise of Folly. (I love teaching stories, koans, paradoxes, fables,):
“If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”
There are ten categories of loopholes--all so funny.
Listener Questioner: "Does checking Facebook make people feel happier and more connected, or more lonely and sad?" Elizabeth isn't even on Facebook; we discuss.
Demerit: I confess that I snuck emailing while talking to my husband on the phone.
Gold Star: Elizabeth gives her treadmill desk a gold star. In Better Than Before, I explain why I gave this gift to her, her very funny reaction, why she loves it so much, etc. Here's a photo of it.
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